Saturday, August 21, 2010

Last Night Abroad

I travel home in the morning. CRAZY, indeed! My travels will last for almost 24 hours straight! I'll leave King's College gates around 9 AM by taxi, take the train and the tube to the airport, and then catch a flight at 2:30. I travel to DC (via Dallas—gross that i have to fly over my house to get to my transfer!) where I arrive at 12:15 AM and then we'll drive home, probably arriving around 1:30 AM on Monday morning. Factoring in the time change (1:30AM Eastern is 6:30 AM London) makes it seem even longer...the joys of international travel!

This last week has gone well despite being very busy.

Monday and Tuesday were consumed by writing my last paper for Cambridge. I wrote my Spooks and Spies paper on the VENONA project. Quite an interesting topic—check it out! (On wikipedia, if you don't have very much time.)

Wednesday was filled with frantic completion of the paper and then switching over to exam study mode for Thursday's Spooks and Spies exam. I ended up answering questions on 21st-century US intelligence/terrorism and 1983's nuclear scare. The 1983 scare is very fascinating. (Go ahead and check out wikipedia's articles on Operation Ryan and Able Archer, but the best resource is "1983: The Brink of Apocalypse" on youtube. It is 1 hour, 15 minutes long, but well worth it!)

After the exam on Thursday, I relaxed, got my hair cut, and went to the final formal hall. The food was amazing, but it was sad to look around and realize that it was coming to a conclusion. That very night, people began heading to the airport.

Friday and Saturday have been spent throughout Cambridge. I've seen some fun things and relaxed. I love this place and am very sad to go. But I will be back. As long as I can last another two years...alright, I can survive just fine.

Not too many new pictures for this last week...sorry!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Less than One Week Left in the UK...Sad Day!

This past week has been fairly basic. Some great things happened, but just in the doing of my normal routine.

Monday-We had a general lecture on memory and the effects of modern technology (including social networking/facebook/etc) on memory. It raised some interesting ideas. I didn't agree with all the conclusions about facebook being the sole cause of memory loss (that I'm not even sure is happening). But some very healthy conversation happened.

Friday-I met with Dr. Ennis for the last time. We talked over the entire project (30 pages) and then talked about grad school details. I feel like I have more direction as I figure out applications over the next year and handle acceptance letters the year following. I also went with a few friends to a Spanish Renaissance concert in Cambridge. It was too long, but the music was fun.

Saturday-London day trip. We visited the Victoria and Albert Museum to see this interesting exhibit on small space construction. The neatest construction was a two-story wooden "tower" that was a spiral staircase with bookcases on all sides of it. Fun idea. We went to the Proms organ concert in the evening and then made our way (despite train cancellations and station jumping) home to Cambridge. Long day, but good day!

Sunday-Church. Last Sunday in Cambridge, at least for this summer. I taught in Priesthood, played the organ in Sacrament Meeting and sang as part of a special musical number. Tonight I am in charge of FHE. It should be fun.

In one week I will be in transit from the UK to the quickly time flies!

P.S. Enjoy the new pictures. I've done some pictures of life in and around Cambridge, with more to come.

Monday, August 9, 2010

2 weeks...

The weather here has actually been different over the last week. The summer had been very dry in the southwest of England, and the rain has increased drastically in the last little bit. On Saturday, we had a rainstorm that lasted for about an hour, I think. It was great fun to watch the rain as I sat in the library. And the lawns being green is a nice perk, as well.

This last week has gone well for me. Nothing too exciting, but productive. I finished a paper for Spooks and Spies and have done major editing on my final supervision paper, which is due this week. In Spooks and Spies, a lot of the week was focused on the Enigma codes of WWII. And then we went to Bletchley Park, 1 1/2-2 hours away from here by coach, where the WWII codebreakers were based and where they broke the Enigma codes. A fun trip. Probably the biggest excitement of the week was with church, yesterday. Elder Kenneth Johnson of the Seventy was visiting our ward, because his son is the bishop. He sat in on my Sunday School lesson! And then he came to King's College to give a fireside for us BYU students and the single adults in the area. I learned and was reminded about a lot of things.

This next week is looking to be lots of work, but it should be enjoyable, at least! I'm also planning on going to London on Saturday for some exploring and probably two Prom concerts at Royal Albert Hall. I'm pretty excited about that!

So sad...I'm not ready to leave Cambridge, or England for that matter. I'll make the most of the next two weeks and then spend lots of time dreaming about coming back...

not too many, but a few new pictures...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Is it really the start of week 6?

So, this past week went well. New class, new adventures. I'm back into the mindset of coming here for all 4 years of post-BYU study now, but there are two more years before any of that would be starting. Only time will tell.

Spooks and Spies is great! This week we got from the beginnings (1909) until the interwar years (about 1938?). The US didn't have a peacetime espionage/counterespionage/spy anything until after WWII! They dismantled all military stuff post-WWI. The Brits reduced stuff, but didn't disappear it...Interesting to think how different things could be if such things had happened differently. I saw the movie Thirteen Days this last week, about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Most interesting...

This week's BYU movie party was a modern Sherlock Holmes that BBC has produced. It is in 3 episodes and one was released a week ago, one yesterday, and one in a week. The first one was great! The plot was a little thin, but the acting and mannerisms, the things one would most fear in a modernization of Sherlock Holmes, were spot on! I'm excited to meet up this week for round 2!

This last Saturday's London trip included a tour of the Houses of Parliament, Stomp!, and Henry VIII. Parliament-great! Stomp!-quite fun! Henry VIII-nice to see it in the Globe, tired feet (next time buy a real seat), and not in my top 5 Shakespeare plays. But it must've been hard to write a play about the current monarch's immediate family...

Not too many new pictures, just a few from the Houses of Parliament.